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Marine Corps News From World War Two: Marines In New Attack

Japs Imperiled By Operation On New Britain

Marines using leap-frog tactics have advanced to within 170 miles of the Jap stronghold at Rabaul with a new landing near Talasea on mountainous Willaumez peninsula where light opposition was quickly overpowered. The new landing represented an advance of 110 miles and tightened the Allied squeeze on Rabaul.
Japanese on the peninsula were reported Thursday to be resisting bitterly. Marine shock troops were fighting to hold their beachhead against fanatical Jap counter assaults.

NEW ATOLL FALLS IN MARSHALL ISLES

Adm. Chester W. Nimitz reported Tuesday that American forces have occupied Majuro atoll in the Marshall Islands without opposition. The newly won island of Majuro, a German supply base before World War I, will provide a good anchorage and advance position in the mid-Pacific, Nimitz announced. No Japanese were found on the island. While Marines moved closer to Rabaul, South Pacific headquarters announced, the reinforced dismounted Ist Cavalry smashed a Jap counter-attack to establish firm control over Los Negros island in the Admiralty group, about 300 miles northwest.
On northeast New Guinea, troops which made an amphibious landing Tuesday within 20 miles of Japan’s Bogadjim fortress, advanced both east and west to capture the villages of Bibi and Ganglau.

10,000 ENEMY TROOPS ISOLATED IN MARSHALLS

The 10,000 enemy troops still in the Marshalls were cut off by fleet units, submarines and planes from possible reinforcement or supplies. Japanese in the Southwest Pacific are in the same fix, Tokyo radio admitted. And in the Solomons, Japanese troops once estimated at 30,000 wait for little ships that never come. The Marine landing on Willaumez peninsula, New Britain, was five miles northwest of Talasea.
Hitting the beach without benefit of naval bombardment, but well covered by fighter planes, the Leathernecks pushed forward toward Talasea, where there is an airfield. Aerial attacks on Cape Hoskins, where 32 tons of bombs were dropped on an enemy airdrome, and on Japanese targets on Riebeck of Willaumez peninsula, aided the Marine thrust.

In Washington, where he has returned for a series of conferences, Adm. Nimitz said, “Our submarines are taking such a heavy toll of Jap shipping that lack of shipping may soon be the controlling factor in what Japan is able to do. “Our submarines are increasing in number and not decreasing in efficiency, even though the number of targets is slowly decreasing.”

From the 11March1944 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron

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Marine Corps News From World War Two: Explosives Found Hidden On Bodies

CAPE GLOUCESTER, New Britain (Delayed)

Marines have been heard to observe that the only “good” Jap is a dead Jap, but even that isn’t true any longer.
Marine burial parties here have discovered hand grenades hidden under the arms of corpses, armed and ready to explode the minute pressure was removed from the striker pin.

Sgt. Arthur E. Mielke, combat correspondent.

From the 11March1944 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron

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Marine Corps News From World War Two: Wisecracking Jap Refuses Surrender

ROI ISLAND, Kwajalein (Delayed)

Marines who splashed ashore here to snuff out Jap sniper opposition, ran into an American-educated enemy with a flair for wisecracks and a desire to end it all the hard way.
Sgt. Bob Cooke of Metuchen, N. J,, a combat correspondent, reports the Leathernecks got this reply from a pillbox entenched Jap they called upon to surrender:

“Come in and get me, you damn souvenir-hunting Marine tourists.”


From the 18March1944 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron

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Marine Corps News From World War Two: Mortars Blast Enemy On Namur

NAMUR, Kwajalein Atoll (Delayed)

“Our assault elements pushed the Japs back so fast on this small island that we were unable to bring up heavy concentrations of infantry supporting weapons for fear of hitting our own troops,” said 2dLt. William Capers James Jr., a mortar platoon leader in the Marine unit that took this island in 27 hours of bloody fighting.
Lt. James was able to register some telling fire on Jap pillboxes on the morning of the second day of fighting when troops called for mortar concentrations on the three remaining Jap pillboxes on the northeast shore of the island. Mortars softened up cornered Japs preliminary to the final assault by lumbering tanks.

From the 11March1944 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron

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Marine Corps News From World War Two: Japs Hauled From Holes By Marines On Eniwetok Atoll

ENIWETOK ATOLL, Feb. 21 (Delayed)

When Corporal Robert H. Thompson of Detroit landed on the beach at Engebi, some four hours after the assault wave, he couldn’t wait to get at the enemy. He joined a mopping up party and stayed with them to rout the Japs from their holes. Every time the party saw a movement under some debris or in the bush they would go after it with entrenching tools, rifles ready. “Some we had to blast out of their tin lined boxes and others we could drag out,” said Corp. Thompson. “One time after we threw a hand grenade in what appeared to be one of their positions, four Japs ran from the hole and into the water.

JAPS EVERYWHERE

The island was honeycombed with these two, three, and four man nests and it seemed every place the men looked, they found Japanese. Corp. Thompson believes that some of the Japanese they found are either brave or crazy. “We found one,” he says, “who kept wanting us to bayonet him and indicating the place on his chest. Another turned back as he ran and laughed when a Marine swore over a jammed rifle. We threw a grenade in one position and watched as a Jap jumped out of his hole, the grenade going off, and then jumped right back in again.”

Sgt. Benjamin J. Masselink, combat correspondent.

From the 11March1944 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron

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Marine Corps News From World War Two: Miramar Depot Gets WR Group

MCAD MIRAMAR

New assignments of 48 WRs to this depot were announced this week. Of the total, 18 were assigned to the communications office, 11 to WR PX, seven to the post office, four to the garage, two to the Depot sergeant major’s office, one each to the personnel office, auditor’s office, QM Dept., “Log” office, personnel group and to the Depot mess officer.

Recent arrival of 29 enlisted women from MCAS, Cherry Point, N. C. increased the total serving here to 226 enlisted and 14 officers.

From the 18March1944 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron

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USMC News From WWII: American Flag Flown In Hail Of Enemy Lead

ENGEBI ISLAND, Eniwetok Atoll, Feb. 19 (Delayed)

Less than 24 hours after landing on this island, the American flag was raised by a of Marines who were among the attacking troops. Using a palm tree whose foliage had been knocked off in the furious naval bombardment which preceded the landing of the American forces, for a flagpole, Marines ran up Old Glory at 0800, with “To the Colors” being sounded on a captured Jap bugle. Snipers made the flag-raising a risky business, but PFC. David B. Whitehurst of Birmingham, Ala., a communications man, climbed the pole and attached the lanyards with Japanese sniper bullets flying all around his head.

BLOWS JAP BUGLE

Corp. Arthur P. Wright of Culver City, Calif., sounded the colors on the Japanese bugle. He also had the satisfaction of knocking off four of the enemy the previous day. SgtMaj. Bernard R. Dumas of South Paris, Me., and StfSgt. Joseph L. (Larry) Bennett of Adrian, Mich., were color bearers. As “To the Colors” sounded this morning Leathernecks, oblivious of the cracking sniper fire, stood at attention and saluted. They then continued their work of cleaning out the holes where the enemy was dug in.

Sgt. Thomas A. Fisher, combat correspondent.


From the 11March1944 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron

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Marine Corps News From World War Two: Air Aces ‘Gripe’ For More Action

SAN FRANCISCO

Famous as “Last Man Off Wake Island,” Col. Walter Bayler of Lebanon, Pa., recently returned here after two months’ official tour of air stations in the Central and South Pacific and conveyed only one gripe—that from men with outstanding combat records who, since rests in the U.S., have been placed in charge of overseas air units.

Among those he met were Lt.Col. John L. Smith, 19 Zeros; Lt.Col. Robert Galer, who shot down 13 at Guadalcanal and was downed three times himself, and Maj. Marion Carl, 18.
All of them, he said, are eager for more action against the Japs than they are getting.


From the 18March1944 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron

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Marine Corps News From World War Two: First Marine Raider Dog Killed On Bougainville

BOUGAINVILLE (Delayed)—

Rollo, a brave-hearted Doberman-Pinscher attached to a Raider unit, became the first dog to be killed in action on the battlefield when it was machine gunned to death by Japs here.

The dog’s handler, PFC. Russell* T. Friedrich of Andover, Conn., was wounded in the same skirmish. Another handler, PFC. James H. White of New York City related:
“We were assigned to an army patrol which wanted Rollo to point Jap positions in dense jungle along the Torokina River. When we got near the Japs, Rollo alerted and pointed. Then the dog attacked and threw the Japs into an uproar. We were on the ground up near a Jap pillbox.

JAPS CALL DOG
“We could hear the Japs hollering, ‘Doggie, doggie. Fredericks whistled and Rollo came back unharmed. He was just about to send Rollo back out of danger when the Japs began firing at him and he sent Rollo over to me. “The Japs were intent on getting the dog. I don’t think they knew I was down there in the grass, too. The Jap fire grew intense. The bullets as they crossfired kept coming closer to me. “I was debating how to get out. Friedrich was only eight feet from me but behind a tree. I sent Rollo to him as the bullets came closer. I thought I was a goner. Just as Rollo got to Friedrich he was hit. Rollo whined for a minute and then died.”

JAP FIRE CONTINUES

Friedrich was shot again a few seconds later. White narrowly escaped death when a Jap bullet tore through his helmet and grazed his scalp. Rollo, who celebrated his second birthday Dec. 7, was regarded as the best “point” dog in the Raider unit. Caesar, a shepherd, once wounded, is the best messenger dog, according to the Marines.

By TSgt. Theodore C. Link, Combat Correspondent

From the 18March1944 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron

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Marine Corps News From World War Two: Maj. Foss Unit Arrives Overseas

SOUTH PACIFIC

Maj. Joe Foss of Sioux Falls, S. D., who downed 26 Japanese planes during the Guadalcanal campaign, and who has returned to the South Pacific as leader of a Marine fighter squadron, declared that his main concern is not records but just to “bring all these kids home safely.”

Foss’ new squadron, trained as a unit in the U. S. by the major himself, includes four other Henderson field veterans. The squadron also numbers a half-dozen filers under 21.
“We’re not out for records,” Foss said. “I just want to do our job well and bring all these kids home safely. If we get Zeros, It will be a result of team play.”

From the 18March1944 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron

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Marine Corps News From World War Two: Biggest Combat Patrol Secures Huge Area Around Airport

WITH A MARINE PATROL SOMEWHERE IN NEW BRITAIN

ln a nine-day sweep of northwestern New Britain. Marine combat patrols have driven out all organized Jap fighting units and secured an area of 100 square miles around the Cape Gloucester airport. The three columns, driving into New Britain from the east, northwest and west, made a junction at the native villages of Niapaua and Agulupella, which are located on jungle knolls within 500 yards of each other, and which were occupied by the evacuating Jap forces until a few days ago. The combined Marine columns, the largest combat patrol to operate in the Southwest Pacific theater, will continue the push until the entire western end of New Britain is cleared of Japs.
The Jap evacuation, which was at first an orderly retreat, became a rout when our columns bore down on the chief center of resistance at Nakarop. The Japs abandoned the trails and took to the bush in an attempt to break through the encirclement. Several times the Japs set up ambushes along the trail, which runs through a long series of steep ridges and deep ravines, only to be dislodged by the pursuing Marines. Our casualties have been light despite the tortuous terrain which limits progress through mud and volcanic rock, jungle, and high grass to one mile an hour.
The junction of the three columns was carried out despite the tremendous obstacles that lay in the way of supply and communication.
Because the thick jungle makes this area a “dead space” for normal radio communications, contact j had to be maintained by runners and by laying telephone lines as closely behind the patrol as possible. Laying the wire over the noses of three mountains and dozens of ravines and gorges required no little technical skill and personal courage on the part of a telephone crew.
More than two miles of wire was laid from Jap spools found in the evacuated bivouac areas. On several days contact was made with a lone Piper Cub artillery observation plane, which flew over the column and from a few hundred yards overhead picked up the patrol’s radio signal. All food and ammunition had to be carried on our backs from the two landing beaches. On some days the water problem was acute. Wounded and two cases of acute appendicitis were carried out on stretchers as far as 10 miles. One of the columns is made up of men who only a week prior to setting off on this trek had spent 23 days on the lines. Aside from the Japs, our chief enemy is fungus infection, caused by wet feet. Our attached Navy medical units have difficulty keeping enough bandages for treating not only the Marines for the foot infections but administering to the natives as well.
We trudged and fought in the dense forest, and our marching was steadily upgrade. But as we neared Niapaua, we moved downhill through the thinner rain forest land. Many of the men took their first bath since the patrol began nine days ago.

MTSgt. Samuel E. Stavisky, combat correspondent.


From the 18March1944 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron

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Marine Corps News From World War Two: Father, Son Hit Japs

SOMEWHERE IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC (Delayed)

Serving side by side at this jungle outpost, where they are now resting after the Empress Augusta Bay action at Bougainville, are a Memphis, Tenn., father and son—both U. S. Marines.
Inseparable, and more like buddies than father and son, are Sgt Wyatt H. Pickler, 44, and his boy, PFC. Edwin C. Pickler, 19. The senior Pickler is property sergeant in charge of company gear. His son is first scout with a rifle platoon. Though Sgt. Wyatt’s duties call for his remaining to the rear of the front lines during combat, he made frequent unofficial visits to the Bougainville front where Edwin served. On one occasion he went out on a reconnaissance patrol into Jap territory with his son. Overseas now a year, father and son joined the Marine Corps together on June 29, 1942, the day the younger Pickler obtained his high school graduation diploma. “Edwin wanted to quit school to join the Marines months before, but I told him that if he waited until his graduation, I would join up with him,” “Pop” Pickler grins. “When the kid came into the house with his diploma, I picked up my hat and coat and said, “Let’s go.”

Sgt. Peter Pavone, combat correspondent
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From the 18March1944 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron

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